“Does Karachi need a golf course for God sakes? … This is madness. I don’t have drinking water and I’m going to be watering the turf?” – Amber Alibhai, general secretary of the public interest group Shehri, spends her days fighting with the city of Karachi about new development.
This year, according to the U.N., half the world’s population lives in cities and the proportion will only increase. Morning Edition begins an occasional examination of the world’s cities with a series of profiles from Karachi, Pakistan’s economic powerhouse.
Foreign developers are drawn to Karachi for at least two reasons. The first is demand. Pakistan may be a poor country, but many of it citizens are well off and developers believe they will pay a lot of money for expensive waterfront condos.
The second factor is a ready supply of investment capital in the Persian Gulf. To Dubai developers, for example, Karachi seems like a great investment.
A video from a Dubai development company features plans for a new city beside the old, with a new harbor, new parks and a nearly 2,000-foot tower that commemorates the year of Pakistan’s independence.
When the company brought its proposal to Pakistan, there was a meeting in the capital city of Islamabad. Word leaked out to Amber Alibhai, a public interest lawyer who is general secretary of an environmentalist group called Shehri. Continue reading